[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 150 (Monday, August 5, 2013)]
[Pages 47408-47409]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18839]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
Oil and Gas Leasing and Development on Public Lands and Federal Mineral 
Estate and Potentially Amend the Hollister Resource Management Plan, CA

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and 
potential resource management plan (RMP) amendment to evaluate oil and 
gas leasing and development on public lands and Federal mineral estate 
in the Hollister Field Office.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS. 
Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until October 4, 2013. 
The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced 
at least 15 days in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM 
Web site at: www.blm.gov/ca/eis-og. In order to be included in the 
Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 60-
day scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever 
is later. We will provide additional opportunities for public 
participation upon publication of the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Oil and Gas Leasing 
and Development EIS by any of the following methods:
     Web site: www.blm.gov/ca/eis-og
     Email: [email protected]
     Fax: 916-978-4388
     Mail: 2800 Cottage Way, Rm. W-1623, Sacramento, CA 95825
Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM 
California State Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Acridge, Natural Resources 
Specialist, telephone 916-978-4557; address 2800 Cottage Way, Rm. W-
1623, Sacramento, CA 95825; email [email protected]. You may 
contact Ms. Acridge to have your name added to our mailing list. 
Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call 
the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to 
contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is 
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question 
with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM is initiating a planning process to 
address oil and gas development on public lands and Federal mineral 
estate in the Hollister Field Office. This Federal Register notice 
initiates a scoping period to solicit public input on that process. 
This is the first phase of a process that may lead to the amendment of 
the Hollister RMP (2006). The BLM may also use this process to consider 
amending RMPs for other field offices in California with oil and gas 
leasing and development (Bakersfield, Palm Springs-South Coast, Mother 
Lode, and Ukiah Field Offices).
    The outcome of this effort to prepare an oil and gas leasing and 
development EIS may provide information for the BLM to potentially 
amend the Hollister RMP in order to establish additional stipulations, 
conditions of approval, best management practices, or terms and 
conditions to further guide safe and responsible lease development 
practices. The EIS will also analyze various current or reasonably 
foreseeable well completion and stimulation practices, including 
hydraulic fracturing and the use of horizontal drilling, in the 
Hollister Field Office. The EIS will further analyze a potential update 
to the reasonably foreseeable development scenario.
    In addition to this planning effort the BLM is concurrently 
initiating a separate peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary assessment of 
the current state of industry practices for well completion and 
stimulation in California. This assessment of well

[[Page 47409]]

completion and stimulation practices will include maps, findings, and 
synthesized sets of data that will inform the BLM's environmental 
analysis documents for subsequent oil and gas lease sales. It is 
anticipated that the information generated by this assessment will be 
used to inform the planning process.
    During the scoping process for this EIS, the high degree of public 
attention to oil and gas development will provide the BLM with input 
regarding the suite of oil and gas leasing and development issues and 
geographic areas that are of most concern to the public. The scoping 
process will also provide input to assist the BLM in fully developing a 
range of potential RMP amendment alternatives to address leasing and 
development and well completion and stimulation practices of concern to 
the public. In conjunction with the independent science assessment, the 
BLM will use the results of scoping to refine the geographic scope of 
the potential plan amendment. In addition, information resulting from 
the planning and science review will further inform future oil and gas 
leasing decisions.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, 
including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EIS. 
Preliminary issues for oil and gas leasing and development to be 
addressed within the Hollister planning area have been identified by 
BLM personnel, Federal, State, and local agencies, and other 
stakeholders, and include: surface water, groundwater, and air quality; 
greenhouse gases and climate change; the environmental effects of 
chemicals, if any, used; the potential for induced seismicity; 
endangered and threatened species; public health and safety; and 
    With respect to the potential RMP amendment, preliminary planning 
criteria include:
     The potential plan amendment will be completed in 
compliance with FLPMA, NEPA, and all other Federal laws, executive 
orders, and management policies for the BLM.
     The potential plan amendment will retain the existing 
resource condition goals and objectives in the Hollister RMP.
     The potential plan amendment will analyze impacts to areas 
that are currently open to leasing and will not consider opening areas 
to leasing that are currently closed.
     The potential plan amendment will recognize valid existing 
    You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria in writing 
to the BLM at any public scoping meeting, or by using one of the 
methods listed in the ``ADDRESSES'' section above.
    The BLM will follow NEPA public participation requirements to 
assist the agency in satisfying the public involvement requirements 
under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 
U.S.C. 470(f)) pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). The information about 
historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by 
the proposed action will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating 
impacts to such resources in the context of both NEPA and Section 106 
of the NHPA.
    The BLM will consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-
government basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be duly considered.
    Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes and other 
stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the proposed 
action that the BLM is evaluating, are invited to participate in the 
scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the 
BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis as 
a cooperating agency.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7.

James V. Scrivner,
Deputy State Director, Energy and Minerals.
[FR Doc. 2013-18839 Filed 8-2-13; 8:45 am]